Greenbuddies NewsUpdates from the world of renewable energy

Greenbuddies Tips – October 2022 31.10.2022

16 MWp PV project in Italy completed

In recent weeks, a project with a total installed capacity of 16 MWp has been completed near the ancient Italian town of Ferrara, located between Venice and Bologna.

This project entailed a highly complex Axone Duo tracker design from PVH, which rotates during the day to follow the sun, maximising both energy and monetary gain for the customer. Our team took care of the mechanical and electrical installation, including ramming and assembling the structure with PV modules, cabling, and grounding.

Newly finished freefield project in Italy

One of the difficult tasks was measuring the structure’s minimum deflection, which had to be measured with a laser. To give you an indication of the operation, on a 56-meter tracker, the tolerance was 1 cm, which is also the measurable limit by laser. More than a hundred workers rotated with the work during the project, depending on the current activity and specialisation. All this while often having to deal with high temperatures of around 40°C in the shade for the 3 months of installation.

As this was a pilot Greenbuddies project, in the beginning, we faced many administrative hurdles. However, in dealing with them we gained experience that will be very useful to us in the future. We believe that this collaboration with a challenging client has prepared us perfectly for working on the next seven projects starting in Italy, and we hope to increase this number in the future!

Possibilities of use of hydrogen in the automotive industry

In this edition of our Greenbuddies Tips, we would like to follow up on the topic of using hydrogen as an alternative energy source with the potential use of hydrogen in the automotive industry. Although it is technologically possible for a car to burn hydrogen in the same way that models run on liquefied propane-butane (LPG) or liquefied or compressed natural gas (LNG, CNG) do, none of the mass-produced prototypes has achieved this.

There is no pure hydrogen car on the market today as today’s hydrogen cars are hybrids. They have fuel cells which, by combining hydrogen from a tank with oxygen in the air, produce electricity (the waste product is only water vapour). This is partly used to power the vehicle at times of light load and the rest is stored in a built-in battery; when more power is required (starting, overtaking), the missing energy is supplied by the battery. It is not worth installing more powerful fuel cells to cover peak consumption due to their size and weight.

Hydrogen propulsion has yet to make significant inroads into passenger transportation, with German physicist Patrick Plötz of the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems Research and Innovation telling Nature Electronics magazine that hydrogen is too late for any road transport. The West’s drive to rapidly achieve climate-neutral transport is leading to a preference for existing technologies that promise to achieve this goal within a few decades. In passenger transport, it is no longer expected that hydrogen technology can catch up with electric cars if the Paris Agreement commitments are to be met. If hydrogen trucks are not in series production within a few years, he is also sceptical about freight transport. 

Illustrative photo, Source: news.heraldcorp.com

However, the situation is different in other sectors such as aviation, industry, or shipping. Japan’s largest railway company, East Japan Railway, is testing its first hydrogen train, which is expected to go into commercial service in 2030. Development is being carried out in collaboration with Toyota, whose task it will be to supply the fuel cells, and Hitachi, which will supply the propulsion system. Hydrogen trains are already running in Germany. In Lower Saxony, they have replaced fifteen diesel trains. Alstrom’s Coradia iLint hydrogen trains have a range of 1,000 km and are capable of a top speed of 140 km/h.

At September’s UK DroneX trade fair, he outlined further possibilities. The Israeli firm Gadfin unveiled a delivery drone using hydrogen fuel cells. With the higher energy density of hydrogen versus lithium-based batteries, it allows for a range of up to 250 kilometres and is expected to find use in linking hospitals in the Cambridge area as well as transporting vital medical supplies faster than cars, especially at peak times.

A kilogram of hydrogen contains approximately 66 kWh of energy, while lithium polymer batteries have a maximum energy density of 0.14 kWh/kg. ISS Aerospace, an English company that uses drones loaded with various sensors to collect cartographic and other data, reports that when using hydrogen cells, the drone can stay in the air two to three times longer and thus cover a larger area.

Source: Video: Drony na vodík z výstavy novinek jsou lehčí, obratnější a doletí dále – Seznam Zprávy (seznamzpravy.cz)
Dává vodíkový pohon smysl? Nebo je budoucností elektromobilita? | fDrive.cz
Vodíkový pohon prohrál. Do aut ani náklaďáků se už neprosadí, tvrdí expert – Seznam Zprávy (seznamzpravy.cz)
V Japonsku chtějí vyrábět vodík z použitého plastu (hybrid.cz)

Greenbuddies became ISO 14001 certified 

In the January issue of our newsletter, we told you about our plans to obtain the ISO 14001 certification, which is an important tool for managing the environmental impact of a company’s activities. We are very pleased to tell you that this month we have met all the requirements for this certification and have become a legal holder of ISO 14001:2016. 

The development of Greenbuddies is based on the harmonious alignment of economic growth, social justice, and environmental protection, i.e., on the principles of sustainable development. All our employees are aware of their responsibility towards future generations. 

Greenbuddies project in Netherlands

Our goal is to minimise the consumption of materials and raw materials to the level set by technical standards and regulations so that unnecessary waste, including energy and fuel, is avoided. We strive to make the activities we carry out as environmentally friendly as possible. Contractors are familiar with the principles of process optimisation and the requirements for machinery (e.g. electrically powered) and waste management. In order to further reduce environmental burdens, vehicles are serviced at set intervals and times to minimise harmful emissions into the air, Noise is limited to an acceptable level and leakages of operating fluids are prevented – especially oil. All our employees are involved in the process of reducing the production of pollutants (emissions and waste). 

The environmental register is one of the sources for determining our company’s environmental profile and is continuously updated and evaluated. At the same time, we have introduced an Environmental Management Directive, the purpose of which is to also bring all the company’s activities into line with the requirements of applicable laws and related regulations in the field of environmental protection. Specifically, in the areas of air protection, water management, waste management, etc.

Internal audits are carried out to check compliance with the defined principles in all organisational units of the company that are included in the integrated management system. 
It is well known that Greenbuddies has already obtained several ISO certifications in previous years. In 2018, we focused on our quality management system and met the requirements for the ISO 9001:2015 standard. In January 2021, we, as a company, focused on occupational health and safety and became ISO 45001:2018 certified, replacing the original OHSAS 18001 standard. 

We believe that by continuously improving our internal processes, we will become a stronger player with a favourable market position.

Market Footprint 3Q 2022 18.10.2022

Greetings,

We hope everything is going well with you and your company!

We have some exciting news to share with you.

This quarter has been very busy for us, and we are proud to say that we have completed over 700 MWp in the last 5 years, and we are still growing day by day, with our teams currently working on projects totaling more than 100 MWp at once.

For more information on our most recent completed projects, please see our quarterly Market Footprint.

If you have any projects where we can assist you, please do not hesitate to send us an RFQ. We would be delighted to prepare an offer for you and look forward to continuing our collaboration!

Best Regards,

Greenbuddies Tips – September 2022 27.09.2022

Maximising the performance of rooftop PV

The quickest solution to reducing electricity costs is to cover your own consumption with a rooftop PV plant. It is apparent that commercial real estate investors are becoming increasingly aware of this fact. To maximise electricity production, it is advisable to incorporate the requirements of a future rooftop PV system into the detailed design of a production or storage hall. 

An example model project is the Dagab food logistics centre in Balsta, near the Swedish capital. The 65,000 m2 flat roof is designed entirely according to the “PV rooftop ready” rules. The main area is free of any obstructions, i.e., the technologies are placed island-style to avoid shading of the PV panels (ideally placing the panels towards the northern edge of the buildings). Other important elements that contribute to maximising the output per m2 are appropriately placed drainage channels and the direction of the roof pitch due to the use of an east-west system.

Newly finished rooftop project in Sweden

Three years ago, standard practice was to build 1 MW on a roof with 10 people per month. Currently, thanks to an ideally designed roof and choice of components, we built almost 9 MW in a record of 3 months. The main reasons for the fast construction and subsequently early commissioning are that the materials on the roof were manoeuvred with a helicopter, there is an even distribution on the roof which is as close to the installation site as possible, and we use JA Solar 535 Wp Jumbo panels of 2285×1135 mm which are placed on the Esdec mounting system.

Having installed over 25 different roof mounting systems, we can virtually confirm that Esdec FlatFixWave Plus is the fastest substructure on the market. The biggest advantage is that the substructure is pre-assembled and only needs to be unfolded and set in place. FlatFixWave is the only structure that assembles without the use of power hand tools, screws, or panel clips. There is no need to check the tightening torques of panel attachment screws or other bolted connections. Using FlatFixWave ensures a quick and flawless installation without the need for lengthy torque wrench checks. 

Dagab food logistics center in Balsta

Our Swedish customers have entrusted us to build 30 MW on five rooftops this year, where we installed 16,554 panels on the largest of them. In a series of mega rooftop PV projects that we will be building, the upcoming one is a 9.5 MW project in Germany, which will start in October.

Together, let’s break the 10 MW mark on one roof. Our teams, led by experienced construction managers, are waiting for your next mega project.

Hydrogen as an alternative energy source

Hydrogen is the most abundant gas in the universe, accounting for 80% of the atoms of the elements found here. Although the Earth contains much less of it, it is the third most abundant element after oxygen and silicon (15.4% of atoms), so there is certainly no shortage. However, its functionality is reduced since elemental hydrogen is rarely found on Earth and must be extracted from natural gas, oil, coal, or electrolysis from water for industrial use.

Hydrogen is the new “holy grail” of energy. Hydrogen, also claimed to be the fuel of the future, is an efficient fuel that has the highest combustion energy per pound compared to other fuels in use. It offers up to three times more energy for the same volume of fuel. It is also a clean-burning fuel that produces no harmful by-products. Currently, most hydrogen is produced by a chemical process from fossil fuels. Although this is the most efficient method of production, with an efficiency of around 80%, the downside is that for every kilogram of hydrogen, 5.5 kilogrammes of carbon dioxide are also produced. If this waste carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, the resulting hydrogen is called “grey”; if it is captured and stored, it is called “blue”.

Illustrative photo, Source: Pexels.com

This offers production by electrolysis of water. However, the efficiency of production is significantly lower, at just 60 % and 9 litres of water are used per kilogramme of ‘green’ hydrogen. However, the efficiency can be increased when there is a surplus of production and energy that has no use at the time, which is used to produce “green” hydrogen.

Thus, hydrogen production from solar energy is proposed in a system that includes a conventional photovoltaic power plant, either on the roof or on the ground, to which a storage system is connected combining battery storage and a hydrogen tank. The left-over energy produced by the sun is stored partly in the battery and partly in the form of hydrogen. The hydrogen that is produced is not only useful for powering vehicles or for heating but can also be reused to generate electricity when it is scarce or in an island system that is not connected to the grid.

Schematic of the interconnection of photovoltaic panels and a hydrogen storage system,
Source: https://www.ujv.cz/cs/produkty-a-sluzby/veda-a-vyzkum/oz

Sources:

https://energozrouti.cz/wiki/vodik
https://www.hybrid.cz/v-japonsku-chteji-vyrabet-vodik-z-pouziteho-plastu/
https://cc.cz/vodikove-kartuse-jako-zdroj-energie-noveho-veku-toyota-jimi-chce-pohanet-vozy-i-mesta/
https://www.airproducts.cz/gases/hydrogen
https://www.proelektrotechniky.cz/obnovitelne-zdroje/60.php

In addition to electrolysis from water using electricity from nuclear power plants, hydrogen is also available as a by-product of waste treatment. Toyota, the Japanese automaker, plans to produce hydrogen from household plastic waste. In Japan, this is currently not recycled as 8% ends up in landfills, 12% is exported, and two thirds end up in incinerators. Although production in this way does not produce carbon waste, it is still significantly more profitable than incineration.

In the current energy crisis, hydrogen is also helping to counter regional differences in the availability of raw materials. For example, hydrogen can be obtained through electrolysis from water in any country, even if it is otherwise mineral poor. Hydrogen as a chemical is always the same. Moreover, it can be added to natural gas and heated without any infrastructure modification, as current gas boilers are tested to run on natural gas enriched with up to 20% hydrogen.

Q&A Session with Greenbuddies

As our Greenbuddies team in the planning and building phase is growing each month, we would like to introduce our newest additions with the following questionnaire.

Consulting Buddy Nella Maslák – a young professional with a background from electrical engineering and civil engineering

Project & Delivery Buddy Jan Noga – a skilled professional with work experience in Spanish-speaking countries and in logistics and machinery

Site Buddy Lukáš Bílek – multilingual professional with work experience from all over the world

 

You can meet Nella, Jan, and Lukáš on the sites of your projects. Learn something about them from their responses to our Q&A.

Nella Maslák

• What was your first impression of Greenbuddies?

When I joined the company, I was pleasantly surprised at how kind and supportive the GB people were and what a great team worked here.

• If you could change one thing about the solar industry, what would it be?

Considering that I work at Greenbuddies Consulting, I would simplify the permitting process for the construction of photovoltaic power plants.

What do you do when you aren’t working?

When I’m not working, I try to divide my free time into two parts: the part I dedicate to my children and the time I spend with friends. I like to travel and do sports, especially skiing.

Jan Noga

• What was your first impression of Greenbuddies?

It was a pleasant surprise to see that everyone at Greenbuddies enjoys their jobs and cares about the company. I worked in a big industrial concern before and I did not feel this there.

• What do you find most challenging about your job?

Sometimes it’s the language barrier that makes my work difficult.

• What do you do when you aren’t working?

Mountain biking is my form of relaxation. So whenever I have some free time, I try to find the perfect trail.

Lukáš Bílek

• What do you find most challenging about your job?

Project management as a complex business matter: give people a sense of what is really going on; achieve a few things each day; get results so we can move on and have a better day than the day before.

• What do you think will change in the PV world over the next five years?

 I believe that the world is now going through many principal changes and the question of using renewable resources is becoming more and more important than ever. So PV, new technologies, engineering, new business ideas and solutions will be more in demand than ever before.

• If you weren’t in Greenbuddies, what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?

You can describe me in a few words, which are: foreign relations and languages; travelling and integration abroad; Sport and creative mind, always on the lookout for new opportunities and involvements in study, project management, and start-up environment. So if I was not involved with Greenbuddies, I would be looking for this scope of work.

Greenbuddies Tips – August 2022 24.08.2022

4.4 MWp project in Wijchen, NL – The largest Greenbuddies rooftop PV of 2021

This section will discuss the project on the roof of a DHL building in Wijchen, in the east of the Netherlands. It is one of thirteen projects that Greenbuddies have worked on in 2021 in The Netherlands.

Situated on a flat roof, which this time was not challenging in terms of the specifics of the construction or the shape of the roof but was both interesting and challenging in its dimensions. The scale of the project is not so different from the other roof installations that our company has already realized however, the other installations were spread over several roofs belonging to the same owner. However, this installation is exposed on the roof of a single building (one roof unit). 

Rooftop project in Wijchen, Netherlands

The solar plant‘s installed capacity is 4.4 MWp. The DC installation of the project, which was handled by Greenbuddies, included the installation of 10,632 panels, 25 combiner boxes and 25 inverters. Moreover, the SADEF East-West Landscape construction was used. We were able to realize the DC installation of this project of an unusually large size for it being a roof structure in only 3.5 months.

If we compare the number of panels on this building with the publicly known statistics that relate to solar energy, we get a better idea of the size of this project. For example, in 2021, Greenbuddies worked on more than 40 PV projects across the European Union, and the average size of the power plants built that year was 2,8 MWp. In total, Greenbuddies built over 100 MWp of solar power plants that year. By comparison, in the Czech Republic, a total of 62 MW of PV plants were installed in 2021 country-wide [1], which is about 14 plants of the same size as the Wijchen project.

To give you a visual aid of the installation, have a look at the birds-eye view of this rooftop installation.

Bike Ports – solar powered shelters for cyclists with ebike charging

The popularity of electric bikes is growing worldwide, and with that, comes the need to charge them. Often, batteries run out during a cycling trip, whereby the journey must be continued by only using human power. Therefore, it is useful to have another solution such as solar-powered shelters.

Even if there is an electrical outlet available (e.g. at a restaurant during lunch), the cyclist can often be out of luck when they do not have the right charging adapter with them. Another issue is that there are often no electrical outlets in the middle of nature areas.

Illustrative picture, Source: David Marcu, Unsplash.com

In the middle of nature, a solar bike shelter, which has integrated solar modules including battery storage, will do a great job of keeping your bike charged despite the absence of mains electricity. In addition, this shelter protects against harsh weather conditions. Moreover, not only cyclists will benefit from this, but anyone can make use of the shelters, such as hikers. and not only the cyclist does not have to sit in the rain while charging, but it can also be used by passing hikers. The battery can also be used to power anti-vandal surveillance cameras and vending machines, or the operator can allow mobile phones to be recharged. It is then up to the operator to choose a suitable form of monetization for the whole device.

The bike port can be made of different materials to best suit natural conditions. The individual components related to the power plant are ingeniously integrated into the design of the entire shelter so that, for example, the roof is made up of only photovoltaic modules. Therefore, no additional materials are required for roof insulation. This shelter can be built in a so-called island operation where the PV modules only supply electricity to the battery storage and where the shelter is not connected to the distribution system. Naturally, it is also possible to connect this bike port to the grid and send any surplus to the grid, thus guaranteeing a faster economic return on the project. The shelter can be optionally complemented with covered tables, chairs and other things to best serve the desired purpose. The bike port itself can be installed virtually anywhere with frequent cyclists and is an ideal resting place for those who need it.

Bike ports can also be supplemented with bicycle parking stations with the option of locking them. This will offer secure bicycle storage while charging. After a tour of a castle, chateau or a visit to a leisure centre, the tired cyclist can pick up their bicycle at full strength and reach their destination with minimal effort.

Photo of bikeport in the Czech republic, Source: www.powerbox.one                                                                                                                                                                     Photo of bikeport in nature, Source: ecoload.fr             

Meet our site managers from all over the world

Greenbuddies was founded in Prague and this beautiful city is still where we have our base. However, Greenbuddies is now a pan-European company which, to be able to take care of customers in all 14 markets of the European Union, needs to have enough skilled workers in both construction and construction management.

During the first few years, we had been able to reliably bring several qualified workers from the Czech Republic to the photovoltaic markets. As time went on, we began to collaborate more and more with teams and individuals from other countries, as the Czech PV market itself began to have high demands for skilled labour.

Illustrative picture, Source: Los Muertos Crew, Pexels.com

Therefore, on our construction sites today you will find colleagues from Hungary, Poland, Bosnia and Hercegovina and even Senegal. It is truly an international team working together like the famous “Swiss watch”.

We would like to introduce you to some people in this team and the background of their home countries:

El Hadji Amadou Bamba Diarra

Bamba has literally become our universal soldier. He was starting his first project for a Belgian mounting system manufacturer near Avignon in southern France. The project is interesting because the mounting system is based on earth screws, which are more suitable for hard and rocky terrain. His second task is to provide and supervise the DC wiring on single-axle rotating structures near Bologna, Italy.

Bamba was born in Dakar, Senegal, where he finished his high school education with honours and received a scholarship to the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava. Since completing his studies, he has worked in Italy and Kuwait before joining Greenbuddies. He says that working in the solar energy sector is his true passion. Bamba is a family man with three daughters and a love of jazz and Cuban music.

Languages: native French and Wolof, English, Italian and Slovak

Education: Master’s degree in Power Electrical Engineering at Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology in Bratislava, Slovak Republic

Emin Džomba

As our business activities have expanded to Sweden and Croatia, we will be hiring a young and talented professional who speaks Croatian and knows the cultural habits and business approach in this region. The first project where Emin will be involved in as a Junior Site Manager is a 10 MW free-field PV for an important Croatian grid operator. There are several other upcoming projects close to Zagreb and Split which will start in the fall and Emin will be taking part in these projects as well.

Emin grew up in a small town named Kakanj in the middle of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he finished his high school education. Then he moved to Sarajevo to attend university and get his degree. After finishing his studies, he came back to his hometown, which has a lot of industry in it, including a thermal powerplant that has been working for more than six decades. It was easy to see how devastating this can be for the environment, so he chose to work in the field of green energy. Emin has experience with the design of different types of power plants from his previous work as a Mechanical Engineer.

Languages: Croatian, Serbian, English

Education: Master’s degree in Process Engineering and Environmental Engineering at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Sarajevo

Greenbuddies Tips – July 2022 28.07.2022

Greenbuddies complete 2.1 MWp rooftop project in Belgium ahead of schedule

Our Greenbuddies team has finished work on a 2.1 MWp rooftop project in the Wallonia Region in Belgium. Situated on top of the headquarters of a logistics company, a total of 4684 PV modules were installed, along with 13 inverters and app. 50 km of DC cables.

We have again proven to be the “Unstoppables” as our team was able to work around encountered problems, as the crane could be moved only from a certain date. Rather than waiting for this day to come, we mobilized a higher quantity of workers to distribute the lifted material around the roof. This way, the project was able to be finished and handed over 20 days before the planned deadline, thus adding another green energy source to the Belgian market.

Newly finished rooftop project in Wallonia, Belgium

Photovoltaic façade systems – a means of integrating green energy into the building’s structure

The demand for photovoltaic installations is growing, a well known fact we keep repeating each month. This is mainly due to rising energy prices, which are forcing consumers to look for alternatives in order to save money. The interest in rooftop and ground-mounted solar power installations is huge and growing. It is not surprising that the search for various uses of photovoltaics is growing as well. One of these solutions is a façade or wall-mounted photovoltaic power plant, a type of installation which has been used increasingly in recent years. It is an ideal solution for buildings that do not have a suitable roof or as an addition to an existing roof installation.

Façade systems are usually installed on south-facing walls. They can be mounted parallel to the wall or with a slight tilt. Façade systems generally produce less energy than rooftop and ground-mounted installations. Due to this, it usually does not make sense to mount the modules on a walls other than the south-facing ones. In general, wall-mounted solar panels produce more electricity in the winter months than in the summer. This is because the sun is lower in the sky during this time, so more direct sunlight hits the wall-mounted panels.

Illustrative picture, Source: Architizer.com

The naturally steep slope of wall-mounted solar panels requires special hardware to install and secure. They are more difficult to fix than ground-mounted or roof-mounted solar panels. The mounting system can be attached directly with anchors drilled into the wall, or the installation can use support columns that are erected against the wall and to which the panels are then attached. As façade systems fight gravity to remain upright, strong securing is essential to prevent displacement, damage and life-threatening accidents.

In terms of cleaning and maintenance, this system is easier to maintain than conventional ground and rooftop power plants. The accumulation of dirt, snow and other items is almost never a problem because rain washes away any debris and gravity prevents the accumulation of leaves and other debris, which contributes to easier cleaning. Wall-mounted modules are also more visible and do not require climbing on high roofs to assess their condition. Climbing onto the roof is a burdensome and often a risky task for many power plant owners. Wall-mounted panels provide the advantage of easier visual access to keep track of any cleaning or maintenance needed.

Illustrative pictures, Source: Architizer.com

Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) is another and more challenging and expensive option in terms of installation. This is a solar energy system that is seamlessly integrated into the building’s outer shell and is usually part of construction elements such as façades, roofs or windows. The BIPV system serves a dual purpose, being an integral part of the building that not only converts solar energy into electricity, but also provides other necessary functions such as thermal insulation or noise protection. These systems can be installed during the construction of a new building or installed as part of the refurbishment of an existing building when the usual components need to be replaced.

Greenbuddies Consulting team of experts provides complete support for PV projects

In the context of the dynamic development of solar projects in the Czech Republic, it has been proven crucial to be able to work on customer projects not only during the actual implementation but ideally already in the so-called pre-construction phase.

At Greenbuddies Consulting, we offer a complete solution – from the initial study or processing of an application for connection to the distribution network to the preparation of project documentation, applications for subsidies or negotiations with the relevant authorities. We also help customers better understand the time, financial, technical and organisational parameters of their project.

A preliminary administrative and technical site assessment enables customers to verify whether a solar project is feasible at a given location in terms of obtaining the relevant permits, connecting to the grid and whether the project makes technical sense. The PV framework design is a way to determine the expected performance and architecture of a future PV project without having to commission an extensive design for planning permission at this stage. The subsidy opportunity analysis will answer customers’ questions about currently announced subsidy programs and their suitability for the customer’s project and outline an approximate timeline for the necessary steps.

A frequently used service is the calculation of investment and operating costs related to the implementation of the PV project.

Then, in the project gets a green light, Greenbuddies can prepare complete project documentation for the construction permit or, if necessary, the implementing documentation. We also provide customers with the necessary applications for grid connection, building permits or subsidies.

We offer these consulting services for the entire Czech Republic, both for ground-mounted PV installations and for rooftop projects on large commercial and industrial buildings.

Market Footprint 2Q 2022 22.07.2022

Greetings,

We hope all is well with you and your business!

We would like to share some news with you. 

Today, we are happy to say we have already completed over 600 MWp in the past 5 years and are still growing day by day, as our teams are working all over the European Union. You can check out the details in our quarterly Greenbuddies Market Footprint 2Q 2022.

If you have any projects where we can be of any help, don’t hesitate to send us an RFQ of your projects. We would be pleased to prepare an offer for you and we are looking forward to continuing our cooperation!

Best Regards,

Greenbuddies Tips – June 2022 27.06.2022

Greenbuddies open a new market in Croatia with 1.5MWp installation

Our Greenbuddies team has completed the first project lined up for this year in cooperation with our client E.On Hrvatska.

This pilot project in our newly opened market is situated in the Osijek-Baranja County, in inland Croatia on the site of a sunflower oil production plant. Our team was responsible for the mechanical completion of substructures, PV module placement and the complete DC installation, along with the laying of AC cables. This project is a complex combination of rooftop and ground mounted PV of a total capacity of 1.5 MWp.

Newly finished rooftop and freefield project in Croatia

Altogether, 2278 panels were installed on three separate rooftops and a total of 3900 panels on three spaces on the ground. A total of 18 inverters were installed. Our Greenbuddies team has proven again that we are the “Unstoppables”, as a fixed deadline was set and fulfilled.

At the moment, our team has started work on another site in this region in the East of Croatia, this time on a 10 MWp freefield project and more are in the preparation phase.

Solar carports – the future of clean energy

With the rising demand for electric cars and charging infrastructure, the interest in generating solar power is also increasing. Photovoltaic power plants built on the roofs of large car parks are called carports and are the most efficient form of generating renewable electricity for this purpose.

Due to the energy prices rising as well as subsidiary possibilities concerning the Green Deal, many investors are planning new ground-mounted parks. Moreover, investors are planning projects on the roofs of industrial buildings, unconventional solar installations on water, and carports. All these innovative ideas are addressed in this post.

Types of carports used in Lutzmannsburg project, Source: pmt.solutions

With the European Union announcing plans to end the sale of cars that run on fossil fuels by 2035, an increasing number of car companies intend to start producing electric cars in the upcoming years, if they are not already doing so. However, cars running on electricity currently face criticism for the fact that their fuel is produced in thermal power stations or nuclear reactors, which emit harmful substances into the air.

Non the less, multiple solar energy providers claim that solar panels on the roof of a garage produce enough electricity for a car to travel 12,000 kilometres a year on solar power. This more cost-efficient way of producing energy can start paying for itself after a period equivalent to the 50th to 60th fill-up of a tank of petrol.

According to advocates of renewable energy sources that could power electric cars, other price developments argue for energy generated from the wind and the sun. While fuels such as petroleum are likely to become more expensive, the cost of solar panels and renewable energy generation, in general, is reducing. This also means that carports are being built and complemented by EV charging stations by a variety of companies. This is for the use of generating power for their company fleets of electric cars as well as sheltered parking spaces near supermarkets for the use of their customers.

Among the manufacturers and producers of carports, we should mention Adiwatt, BAYO.S, Borabela, Pradecon, TreeSystem or Hartig Wenzel from Elsenfeld, Germany, with whom our Greenbuddies Charging team is currently actively cooperating on a Truckport project in the Central Bohemian region in the Czech Republic. 

Carports are also an integral part of another Greenbuddies Charging EPC project in Lutzmannburg, Austria. With a PV plant of 1.5 MWp, it is the largest carport project in Austria. The structures of the carports sheltering 454 parking spaces were supplied by PMT. Above are some photos of the progress and implementation of the work. 

The Greenbuddies team has also installed over 450 PV modules on carports situated on a parking lot of a supermarket near Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Q&A Session with Greenbuddies

Dear readers, 

the other day, I counted all our internal staff within the Greenbuddies group. We welcomed our 50th colleague at the turn of 2021/22, while today we are at 56 members. It is estimated that we will have 60 team members in both our Czech and Dutch offices by the end of this year.

It isn’t feasible to name each team member here, but let me introduce 3 of them:

Sales Buddy Jan Spudil – new addition to our Sales support team, he is entering his last year at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague

Chief Consulting & Development Buddy Petr Štajner – high profile manager with 25 years of experience in infrastructure development in the energy and telecommunication industries

Chief Procurement Buddy Petr Janda – experienced procurement manager with many years procuring technical equipment for some of the largest companies in the Czech Republic

Read below to read their responses to our questionnaire!

Aleš Spáčil

Chief Sales Buddy

Jan Spudil

• As a part of the PV team, what sorts of trends do you see?

People began to realise very quickly that investing into solar energy is a good way to protect savings in times of high inflation, while offering a degree of independence from the volatility of the energy market.

• Tell me about someone who has influenced your decision to work with Greenbuddies?

Vladimir Putin with his attack on Ukraine – it is crucial to get rid of the dependence on Russian gas in Europe.

• What would you tell someone who is thinking about building a PV plant?

I would tell them to build it, because the return on investment is favourable given current energy prices, and the more energy self-sufficient businesses and households there are, the better.

Petr Štajner

• What would you tell someone who is thinking about building a PV plant?

I would tell him to stop thinking and start the project immediately!

• If you could change one thing about the Solar Industry, what would it be?

All the approval and permit processes simply take too much time. Everyone would benefit from the acceleration.

• What do you think will change about the PV world over the next five years?

I’m not sure if this will really happen, but I would like to see a much stronger market position for European component and technology manufacturers.

• What do you do when you aren’t working?
Mainly travel and sport but I would like to do more ..

Petr Janda

• What has surprised you most about working with Greenbuddies?

I like, I would call it „Start-up culture“, that the company has in its roots. And the associated flexibility in issue solving. Any good idea for improvement is welcomed and it can be implemented in pragmatic way.

• If you weren’t in Greenbuddies, what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?

I would be probably working for some company in the financial sector. That was actually the reason why I joined Greenbuddies in mid of April. I wanted to try something new in the developing industry with a huge potential for growth in the future what the Solar segment definitely is.

• What do you do when you aren’t working?

I usually spend my leisure time in nature and playing tenis, swimming or riding a bike. In the winter I go skiing and snowboarding. I also like history, especially the history of the 20th century. However, I don’t have much free time lately:)..

Greenbuddies Tips – May 2022 25.05.2022

Greenbuddies reveal new visual identity at Intersolar 2022

Our Greenbuddies team recently participated in the Intersolar exhibition in Munich, which took place on May 11th until May 13th, 2022. We attended the Intersolar exhibition multiple times before, but this year was our first time having a booth and exhibiting our company at the massive photovoltaic-themed trade fair.

The Greenbuddies booth was located in the centre of Hall A5. By hanging an inflated yellow sun above our booth, it was quite easy to spot. We took this opportunity to launch our new visual identity at this event, created by studio Dipozitiv. This new visual identity caught the attention of many visitors and our pins with solar-inspired quotes put smiles on their faces.

Greenbuddies booth at Intersolar 2022

To continue on the topic, due to the fact that our teams and operations are expanding each year, we had decided to take the next step and professionalize our brand’s visual identity. One of our main demands for this new branding was to refrain from being completely serious and straightlaced because we do not consider ourselves a corporate structure. Rather, as reliable buddies for our partners and clients. We like to think that we have achieved this with our new clean and light-hearted visuals which are applied consistently in all forms of the company’s presentations.

We have been visiting Intersolar regularly in the past decade or so, and we are glad that this year, the event itself was much larger than in the past couple of years. We like to see that the scale of the vent reflects the situation in the PV market, as it has expanded to include companies in the EV sector, battery storage, there are banks specializing in renewables. We are glad to see it is very target driven and a great place to do business.

The Greenbuddies team realizes that it is the perfect opportunity for meetings. Over 90 sessions took place at our booth in the duration of the trade fair, with representatives from our PV, EV Charging, Development and Purchasing departments having been present. We are positive in that these meetings will bring new projects with both our existing and new contacts in the future.

We look forward to coming back to Intersolar next year seeing as we were very happy to meet with our business partners in person, after such a long period of only online communication because of the coronavirus pandemic. We think that this is essential for a good partnership, as we aspire to be your buddies in the field of PV.

Detail Greenbuddies marketing items                                                                                                                                                                                                             New brochure design

Greenbuddies Charging’s fruitful cooperation with the global charger manufacturer TRITIUM

The cooperation between our Greenbuddies Charging team and IONITY (Tritium charging station manager) began in April 2021. This is where we participated in the repair of the IONITY charging station at the SHELL – Nupaky gas station, which was the first in the Czech Republic to be equipped with an ultra-fast charging station.

After this test, we got in contact directly with Tritium – an Australian manufacturer of EV charging stations, who gave us access to their portal. This portal is where our company orders repairs (replacements) of charging stations for Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.

We were also granted access into their own training portals which helped improving our charging station servicing know-how. We have been applying this with the support of IONITY for over a year. This is typically either component replacement during service or a complete replacement of the charging station and its testing. The work is varied and very specific.

Upon completion of the service intervention or replacement, we enter all documents into the TRITIUM portal, where the customer checks and then approves the financial settlement.

At the end of 2021 TRITIUM has achieved a world first – it will supply ultra-fast charging stations for SHELL. It is estimated that 500,000 charging stations will be built by the end of 2025 and in the next 5 years up to 2.5 million AC type2 charging stations. In addition to Europe, this is also planned for South Africa, Asia, North America and the Middle East. Tritium has built a total of 6,700 fast charging stations in 41 countries so far.

Here is a brief history of  TRITIUM:

2013
Introduction of RT50
The world’s smallest DC fast charger for electric vehicles. This charger was also the first in the world to be IP65 rated and the first in the world to have fully customizable signage.

2017
Tritium expanded from its home continent of Australia and entered the US market with the establishment of its first international office in Torrance, California.

2018
Entry into Europe
Opening an office in Amsterdam, in order to provide efficient support to existing and future customers on the old continent.

2019
Partnership with Ionity
The joint venture between Daimler, Ford, BMW Group and Volkswagen Group with Porsche AG unveiled a next-generation charger designed, industrialized and manufactured by Tritium.

2020
First to plug in and charge
Tritium has become the first company in the world to introduce Plug and Charge technology (ISO 15118), which enables EVs and charging devices to communicate, authenticate and seamlessly transact via a charging cable.

2021
Launch of a 150kW DC fast charger providing a modular and scalable direct current (DC) fast charging system designed for more cost-effective operation and infrastructure expansion to further the development of electric mobility.

Greenbuddies Charging is a proud installation and service partner of Tritium. We have passed a set of stringent criteria emphasizing superior quality, speed of implementation and efficient deployment of service teams. Going forward, we are confident that the scope and geographic reach of our collaboration with this major manufacturer of electric vehicle chargers will continue to grow. We are ready to do our best to achieve this goal.

Tritium EV chargers evolution

Greenbuddies complete 1.1 MWp rooftop project in the Netherlands

Considering that rooftop PV plants are popping up all over Europe with lightning speed, we are adding more under our belt too. An example of this is the 1,1 MWp rooftop DC installation on an old-timer car service building that took place in the province of Gelderland in the Netherlands.

Our Greenbuddies team has proved to be able to work around encountered barriers. In this case, the roof was flat and had many skylights, which complicated the movement of our workers on the roof. Nevertheless, our team managed to install over 2400 PV modules along with 8 Huawei inverters on Avasco SolarSpeed mounting systems.

We are glad to have added more green solar power to the Dutch booming market.

Greenbuddies Tips – April 2022 29.04.2022

Greenbuddies participate in the electrification of the service fleet in the banking sector

In March 2022, the Greenbuddies Charging team started working with ChargeUp Services CZ, which is the general charging infrastructure provider. This partnership was formed to electrify the service fleet of Komerční banka (KB) – a Czech member of the Société Général banking group as well as a leading banking institution in the Czech Republic.

At the beginning of 2022, KB, a.s. announced its strategic intent to have a quarter of its fleet of company cars fully electrified by the end of the year. Moreover, to have approved massive investments in the purchase of electric vehicles. Along with this, they expect to equip their branches and other facilities with a network of charging infrastructure to offer to their employees and clients. This investment is part of the extensive plan to become completely carbon neutral by 2026.

Detail of charging stations in Libohost

KB’s charging stations will be a combination of alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) charging stations. The AC charging stations supply power via the onboard rectifier of the electric car to its battery. They use a standard mains voltage of 50 Hz, which is converted in the rectifier into a suitable DC charging current for the electric vehicle battery. The size of the onboard rectifiers is determined by the limited space requirements and the possibility of cooling the waste heat that is generated during the charging process directly on board the car. Practically speaking, this limits the maximum charging power of AC charging stations. Moreover, charging stations are available with various power outputs, the most powerful ones being those that reach peak charging outputs of 22 kW. Subsequently, it was the installation of these peak stations with the highest available charging power that Greenbuddies Charging carried out in March 2022 at two KB, Inc. facilities. Specifically, these are the KB branch at Václavské Náměstí 42 and the KB training centre in Libohošt’. The installation technology was directly supplied by the partner company ChargeUp Services, CZ from the manufacturer Circontrol.

Furthermore, alternating charging stations are the most commonly used type of charging infrastructure. However, it can take several hours to fully charge an electric vehicle via an AC charging station. Hence, KB, a.s. wants to offer its clients and employees maximum comfort in the form of fast recharging of the electric car battery. This entails that the battery can be recharged in a period of a few minutes to an hour via DC charging stations. This charging technology, which is available at some petrol stations on motorways, uses rectified energy to charge the electric car battery. This energy is then fed directly to the battery terminals via the electric car’s charging control circuitry.

Detail Circontrol wallbox, Source: elektrickevozy.cz                                                                                                                                                                                                                    EV Charging stations in Libohošť

The DC station rack provides all technical solutions for energy rectification, loss cooling, and other complex issues. The latter results in a complex device that is usually difficult to notice at charging points. Our Greenbuddies Charging team has a wealth of experience in the installation, maintenance, and preventive servicing of DC charging stations. This includes and is actualised through regular long-term cooperation with DC charging station manufacturer Tritium. The latter is one of the exclusive suppliers of Ionity’s pan-European charging network technology.

A total of 24 Circontrol eNext Park T 22k W AC charging stations were installed at the two KB, a.s. locations. During the first stage of construction, preparations were made for the installation of two Circontrol Raption 50 kW DC stations. These will be added in the second phase of construction. We are very pleased to be part of this major innovative project primarily aimed at reducing emissions and striving for carbon neutrality in automotive traffic.

Sources:
https://www.business-car.cz/neprehlednete/komercni-banka-elektrifikuje-svou-flotilu-zaroven-poridi-uctyhodnych-140-dobijecich-stanic
https://oenergetice.cz/elektromobilita/komercni-banka-zprovoznila-u-svych-objektu-89-dobijecich-stanic-pro-elektroauta
https://cc.cz/komercka-elektrifikuje-flotilu-131-enyaqy-jeji-vlastnik-nakupem-leaseplanu-upevnuje-pozici-v-operativnim-leasingu/

Ikaros Solar – new Greenbuddies customer

In this newsletter, we would like to announce the good cooperation with a new and promising customer: Ikaros Solar.

With this Pan-European EPC giant, we started to discuss the installation activities of a 3 MWp ground-mounted solar park in a weird location in the Netherlands some months ago. As Greenbuddies we like weird locations as we are proud to be named ‘the Unstoppables’.

The location itself (South of Rotterdam) is between a few highways and the HSL (train to Paris) and is partly flat and partly sloped and has a quite soft underground structure. Nothing is standard here. The pictures show some of the works.

In the sales department, we recognize that the cooperation is moving forward positively as the number of RfQs from Ikaros is increasing rapidly.
We trust we can report much more on this promising customer in the near future.

  Detail of the terraine                                                                                                                                                                                 Site of the future PV plant near Rotterdam, NL

Solar projects and subsidy calls in the Czech Republic

The solar energy sector in the Czech Republic has seen dynamic development in recent months.

Greenbuddies Consulting offers its customers in the Czech Republic a complete portfolio of services in the preparatory and design phase – from the framework design of the PV plant to the processing of the connection application as well as the project documentation for the building permit. Moreover, an important part of the services is the processing of the application for the relevant subsidy and the provision of the necessary formalities. The construction of the approved projects is subsequently handled by Greenbuddies or Greenbuddies Charging.

An NPO subsidy request for a rooftop PV up to 1 MW is currently underway, and other calls for rooftop PV, support for electromobility and charging stations are expected to be announced. The expected RES+ subsidy will be dedicated to large solar projects. Looking at the bigger picture, the support that these subsidies will offer ranges from 35% to 50% of the relevant costs.

Ilustrative picture, Source: Unsplash

HDSolar cooperation with Greenbuddies continues

In the Solar Roofing sector, we focus primarily on C&I roofs from roughly 1000 panels and more, where we have shown and proved our competitiveness.

One of the successful instances we would like to highlight in this newsletter is the cooperation with HDSolar. Last year, we installed a roof consisting of 0.5 MWp in Helmond for HDSolar. Furthermore, concerning the same company, a 1.1 MWp roof was installed in Valkenswaard (See picture). We are also pleased to mention that this month as well as next month, two more roofs of 0.5 MWp will be placed in Eindhoven and Panningen.

Concerning the roof installation in Valkenswaard, it was our first time working with a team originating from Ukraine. We would like to mention this because the cooperation we experienced with them was very pleasant and insightful. Furthermore, due to the devastating situation in that region, we are doing our best to make sure that these team members and their families are doing all right to the point that is possible for them.

Greenbuddies building a rooftop PV plant in Valkenswaard

The implementation of these installations was primarily without issues, but we noticed the reoccurring issue that each customer has a different idea of how to solve the issues with induction loops. Therefore, it is always necessary to not only clarify goals and desired results at the beginning of the project but also to test out and provide an example in a small form. This is to have the accuracy of the implementation confirmed and thus avoid the need to unnecessarily rework the already-completed parts of the PV plant due to client dissatisfaction.

In reflection, this was a good example of positive teamwork where pro-active communication with our clients is shown to be of great importance.

Market Footprint 1Q 2022 20.04.2022

Greetings,

We hope all is well with you and your business!

We would like to share some news with you. 

We will be attenting Intersolar Europe this year and we would like to invite you to our Greenbuddies stand A5.258. The trade fair takes place in May 11–13, 2022 at the Messe München. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

Today, we are happy to say we have already completed over 500 MWp in the past 5 years and are still growing day by day. You can check out the details in our quarterly Market footprint.

If you have any projects where we can be of any help, don’t hesitate to send us an RFQ of your projects. We would be pleased to prepare an offer for you and we are looking forward to continuing our cooperation!

Best Regards,